Author: Thais Bragheroli, Senior Marketing Manager, UK at Yotpo
Over the course of the last year, brands all over the world have faced unprecedented changes to consumer behaviour and the eCommerce landscape. Shifting privacy regulations, the rising cost of customer acquisition, new consumer demands, and an increase in mobile shopping are requiring marketers to think differently.
In order to effectively adapt to these changes in the year ahead, we predict more brands will lean into mobile-first marketing channels to diversify their outreach, learn about their customers in new and improved ways, and create seamless, personalised mobile shopping experiences that maximise engagement — and SMS might be the most effective mobile-first channel there is.
Let’s explore five ways that SMS marketing can power your success, so that you can not only win in 2022, but also be prepared for whatever changes come next.
Provide value to grow and engage your audience
Every brand today can be an eCommerce brand — and with more stores than ever being brought online, your competition for customer attention in 2022 will be fierce. So ask yourself, what is my customer’s data worth? What can my business offer them that my competition doesn’t?
“Brands need to create value for customers that gives them a reason to organically choose you, and agree to share their data and participate in your community,” says Rosa Hu, Vice President of Product Marketing at Yotpo.
Unfortunately, consumers expect an awful lot from the brands they purchase from. With mobile communication and mobile shopping skyrocketing, they are seeking out brands who can give them access to everything at their fingertips. They now expect marketing messages to be both engaging and relevant, communication to be in real time, and their shopping experience to be hyper-personalised and accessible on a mobile device. Fortunately, SMS can provide all of the above.
Get customers excited and convince them to opt-in to SMS with valuable offers or perks, like 15% off their next purchase or first access to your new collections as a subscriber. Once they do, turn your welcome message into an engaging Q&A to learn about their interests and give them personalised product recommendations based on their responses. With a 209% higher response rate and an 8x higher engagement rate than email, SMS enables you to capture the most customer data to not only understand your audience, but also better target them with messages that feel unique.
You can also add value by sending subscribers best practices about how to use your products, re-engaging them when they haven’t purchased in a while with an exclusive offer, or simply keeping them informed on the go with transactional messages about their orders. There is a message for every moment, and with SMS’s 98% open rate, you can be confident that your customer will read it and want to take action.
Connect your online and offline shopping experience
According to Accenture, more than 50% of consumers plan to use a mix of in-store and online shopping channels in 2022, and over 65% plan to try out different shopping behaviours. SMS marketing enables brands to be where your customers are, which in 2022 will be: everywhere.
You can use SMS to connect your online and offline shopping experiences in a variety of ways. Leverage multi-channel subscriber collection tools, such as pop-ups, keywords, and QR codes to engage customers whether they are checking out your website, your social media, or your storefront and convert them into SMS subscribers. For example, you can add a QR code to your packing insert for customers to scan so they can start engaging with you via text post-purchase in seconds.
Once you’ve built your list, SMS campaigns and automations can be used to create an even more frictionless shopping experience. Send loyalty updates via text — like VIP tier upgrades, points balance details, birthday discounts, and other perks — to drive engagement to your online-offline loyalty programme. Text your subscriber a direct link to a product you think they’ll love based on their order history, allowing them to conveniently click through without having to search, then give them the option to have it shipped to their home or pick it up at your storefront. You can even invite subscribers to join you for an in-store experience or promotion, like a fun pop-up.
Because SMS is mobile-first, it’s already optimised for mobile-first consumers who are everywhere all at once, making it easy for you to design seamless and engaging experiences even when the lines between online and offline blur.
Leverage social proof to build trust and foster loyalty
Social commerce has become the next big revenue stream, and it’s only going to get bigger. According to Adweek, 49% of TikTok users have completed a purchase after seeing a product or service on the platform, while half of millennials have purchased something from a brand after seeing it on Instagram. eMarketer also predicts that the average amount spent by a social buyer in a year will double between 2020 and 2025.
With this considered, brands should aim to incorporate more social proof into the shopping experience in 2022 to make products easy to discover and enable consumers to purchase with confidence. With SMS, you can add social proof, such as a product’s star rating, to your message, but you can also collect it more efficiently.
Any time your customer places an order, send them a review request via SMS to gain valuable feedback and star ratings. Review requests sent via SMS have a 66% higher conversion rate than those sent via email, enabling you to collect more social proof and lay a foundation of trust for future customer spending.
But don’t limit yourself to gathering feedback or promoting your products. You can also leverage the power of influencers to grow your SMS subscriber list more rapidly. You can do this via giveaways using shareable links or memorable keywords on social media to drive high-intent shoppers to your SMS programme and expand your loyal community.
As engagement with social channels like TikTok and Instagram continues to rise, we expect even more consumers will be influenced by social proof over branded content in 2022 — and SMS can be your key to earning it.
Collect the first-party data you thought you lost
In 2022, more brands will be investing in mobile channels as a way to optimise the shopping experience for the mobile consumer. However, new privacy restrictions from Apple’s latest iOS release and the impending deprecation of Google’s third-party cookies are steering the focus towards conversational SMS in particular. Why? Text conversations are an easy and engaging way to collect customer data.
“In 2022, SMS marketing will be an essential channel for eCommerce brands to collect more zero- and first-party data from their customers, especially as marketers reckon with data loss as a result of ongoing privacy changes,” says Kim Winter, Director of Product Marketing at Yotpo.
SMS is powered by this zero- and first-party data — you can capture every customer’s location, demographics, purchase history, average order value, and more. The conversational nature of SMS also encourages customers to share personal information willingly and proactively — by incorporating conversational flows into your SMS strategy, you can collect those less-accessible customer details like interests, preferences, and concerns.
All of this data combined will offer you a detailed picture of who your customer is, so you can more effectively target them at every stage of their 2022 buyer journey and increase their lifetime value.
Simplify your tech stack for more powerful results
According to a recent Hubspot survey, 82% of marketers are losing hours a week to managing different technologies, and 75% of marketers spend up to an hour a day analysing data and connecting reports from their multiple marketing tools.
In 2022, we predict that brands will look to make these internal operations more efficient, and that starts with consolidating and optimising their tech stack. But instead of turning to point solutions for every new technology, marketers should focus their efforts on ensuring their tech solutions integrate seamlessly with each other and share data by investing in one eCommerce marketing platform that can do it all.
Yotpo SMSBump seamlessly integrates with the essential tools and channels your brand needs now or will need in the future (like Shopify, reviews and loyalty programmes, help desks, email service providers, and more), consolidating your tech stack and making it easier for your teams to manage your marketing efforts.
This is especially important for customer service teams. According to Shopify, 54% of global consumers say being able to easily reach customer service in the channel of their choice influences their decision to purchase. When you can integrate your SMS solution with your preferred help desk solution, your team will no longer have to juggle multiple technologies to get results. Rather, you can easily manage customer replies all in one place, thereby creating a more efficient and worthwhile experience for your team and an exceptional customer experience for your end user.
To learn all the ways Yotpo can create powerful eCommerce and SMS marketing experiences for both brands and their customers in the UK, visit Yotpo.com